U.S. manufacturing expanded in November at the fastest pace in five months, buttressing other reports this week that signal the economy is picking up as 2011 comes to an end.
The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index increased to 52.7 last month from 50.8 in October, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Readings above 50 indicate expansion, and economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a gain to 51.8. Construction spending climbed for a third month in October and jobless claims increased, other data showed.
The manufacturing figure was punctuated by gains in orders and production in the same month that consumer confidence rebounded and companies beefed up their payrolls. Corporate purchases of new equipment and stronger holiday spending may help sustain U.S. factories after reports today showed the industry shrank in China and Europe.
“We are an oasis,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York. “The rest of the world might slow when the U.S. slows, but the U.S. doesn’t necessarily slow down when the rest of the world slows.”